How to Easily Get Rid of Vomit Smell from Carpet or Hardwood Floor

Get Rid of Vomit Smell

If you have kids or pets you know what it’s like having to get rid of vomit smell from different areas in your home.

If it gets in the carpet the bad smell keeps resurfacing for years. And if it’s in the living room it really doesn’t let you enjoy a quiet night with Netflix.

Here are the best, tried and tested methods of removing throw up smell from your floors.

How to Get Rid of Vomit Smell from Carpet

If you have carpet in your home, this is a not a good mix with vomit (actually nothing really is!) First you need to deal with removing the chunks (sorry for too much detail, this is not a nice subject).

Step 1 – Cleaning the Vomit

Use kitchen paper towel that you can throw out or an old towel, lift off anything obvious. You’ll need to keep scraping off and rinsing the towel to keep using it. Or get a new piece of paper towel.

You may want to use a spoon to help you get it off the carpet. If you have a plastic spoon even better because you can throw it out afterwards.

Once you’ve removed the obvious stuff, this is where it gets difficult.

If you don’t do the next step right you’ll end up with vomit odor in your house forever. This is especially true when the weather gets warm and humid – it gets very stinky.

Step 2 – Using Vinegar the Correct Way

Fill a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar and mix well.

You need to spray the solution onto the carpet. It’s wise to test this on an inconspicuous part of your carpet first. Perhaps behind a door or behind a large piece of furniture.

Depending on what your carpet is made of, it might react differently to my own carpet.

Spray the vinegar solution liberally onto the area affected and leave it for 10 minutes.

This is really important

Okay now, this really is important. Don’t rub the carpet. Rubbing can spread the vomit (and the area you need to clean). You need to blot the carpet. Use paper towel or an old bathroom towel to blot.

Apart from spreading the stain, you also risk damaging the carpet fibers if you rub.

Start blotting the carpet and if you need to spray more vinegar and water onto it, do so.

This is a really laborious task and it takes quite a lot of effort but it’s worth it if you want to get rid of that sick smell completely.

You need to keep using a new paper towel when it is soaked. Alternatively use a dry spot on your bath towel when it becomes moist.


Make sure you let your carpet dry at this stage.

Some carpets, especially light color carpets, can suffer from a water stain (even from a puddle of water without anything else!).

To avoid a stain appearing get enough air into the room to get the carpet to dry quickly. Open the windows. If you have a ceiling fan, turn it on.

You can also use a hairdryer on the cool setting only, to speed up the drying process.

It is possible to stop here, but to get the best results, read on…

Step 3 – Using Baking Soda on Your Carpet

If you want to be really sure you’ve got rid of the vomit smell completely, continue with the next steps.

Next, we use baking soda.

Sprinkle baking soda onto the area where you cleaned the vomit. Use lots of it. And get it into the fibers of the carpet. You can use your fingers to do this gently.

I suggest wearing disposable gloves to do this. I always keep a packet of latex-free powder-free disposable gloves in the kitchen cupboard so anyone can use them.

Leave the baking soda on there overnight. You may need to close a door to keep pets away from the area. I’ve heard that baking soda is safe around dogs but apparently they get very sick if they eat a lot of it. Better to be safe than sorry.


Next, vacuum your carpet. Vacuum up the baking soda by moving the vacuum backward and forward in one direction and then move to 90 degrees of where you were standing and vacuum in that direction as well.

You want to remove as much of the baking soda as possible. The baking soda helps to deodorize your carpet and get rid of vomit smell. But if you can’t get all of the baking soda out of the carpet it shouldn’t do any harm.

Step 4 – Which Essential Oil Spray Gives You the Best Results

This is a trick I discovered after one of my kids was sick during the middle of a hot summer.

I really wanted to make sure I could properly get rid of vomit smell from that room.

I cleaned everything as described above but I went one step further.

After the vacuuming stage I used my tea tree essential oil spray to disinfect the area as a further precaution to get rid of the vomit smell.

I love using tea tree spray for lots of things in my home.

This is the recipe for Tea Tree Oil Spray:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6-8 drops tea tree essential oil
  • mix well in a spray bottle

I usually make this up in 2 or 3 times the quantity. It depends on what I need to use it for. You can use a plastic spray bottle but I prefer to use a glass spray bottle like the ones shown below. The glass doesn’t interact with your essential oils at all and if you need to use vinegar in one of these they are better than using a metal spray bottle which can corrode from the vinegar.

Method of using the tea tree oil spray

When you get to this stage you don’t need to saturate the carpet, not even close. Just give the whole area a good spray across the top. Sure, you can hold your bottle quite close to the carpet but you don’t want to make it wet again.

I’ve only used the spray on dark colored carpet. If you have a light color, try a spot test somewhere first. 

How to Clean Up Vomit on Hardwood

To get rid of vomit smell on hardwood floors it is very similar to Steps 1, 2 & 4 above. But the second step holds an important difference. Here are the three steps to use.

Step 1 – Use Kitchen Paper Towels

On hardwood, I remove the obvious vomit as much as possible by wiping it up with kitchen paper towels. This often takes longer than you think because it is difficult to scoop it up. But if you persist it is better to remove as much as possible at first.

Step 2 – Clean with Water and Soap

Most modern hardwood floors are surface sealed floors. This is the type of floor I’m referring to. 

As you know, hardwood floors are much easier to get rid of vomit smell than carpet. 

After you’ve removed most of the vomit, mop the floor with water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid soap. The reason I don’t use vinegar is because it can take off the top surface of your hardwood floor and make it look dull.

If you are cleaning a small area you can use a spray bottle and paper towels to do this stage of the cleaning instead of mopping.

As I said, it’s easier to clean hardwood floors.

Step 3 – Using the Essential Oil Spray

Because my hardwood floors are in my living area, I spray the sick area with the tea tree oil spray.

This is a great way to disinfect the area.

But don’t use too much. Once again, the tea tree oil could affect the surface on your floor.

I simply use the tea tree in the same way I would use it to disinfect a door handle or the kitchen trash can. Just a light spray.

Depending on how strong you make your spray, be careful that the floor is not left slippery.

I close off the area until I’m sure it’s not a risk for anyone slipping on a wet surface. I check and double check before I let the kids go into that room again.

If you make a strong tea tree oil spray, the oil in it may take longer to dry on your floor. This is why you need to be careful.

Cleaning a vomit smell is always a difficult job. No one wants to do it but also no one wants the lingering smell when it’s not done. It does take a bit of hard work with all that blotting and cleaning but it’s worth it. 

To finally get your home smelling good again is everything. Do each step and you’ll get good results.

And next time one of the kids says “I feel sick”, immediately put a bucket in their hands and steer them away from the carpet and into the bathroom. If only we could avoid sickness completely!

⇒ Need to remove crayon from walls? Read more here.

⇒ Want to know how to use peppermint essential oil in your home? See more.

⇒ Are you worried about mosquitoes on your kids in the backyard? This is the way to get rid of them naturally.

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